Charles Barkley in the Nike Air Force 180

Today in Performance Sneaker History: Charles Barkley Leads US to ’92 Olympics in the Nike Air Force 180

When it comes to ranking the greatest basketball teams ever assembled, very few squads are able to compare to the sheer volume of talent possessed by the 1992 United States Olympic Dream Team. The roster was loaded with some of the best names of the ’80s and ’90s, including Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, and more. But before this star-studded group made their way to the Olympics, they participated in the 1992 Tournament of the Americas, known today as the FIBA Americas Championship. The purpose of the tournament was to determine which teams would represent the Americas for their four spots in the Olympics.

The Dream Team made quick work of their opponents, quickly racking up a 5-0 record as they headed to the Tournament of the Americas Championship against Venezuela. Foreshadowing the way the Dream Team would eventually motor though the Olympics, the US dominated Venezuela with a final score of 127-80.

Leading the way in scoring for the Dream Team throughout the Tournament of the Americas was none other than Charles Barkley. He averaged 16.3 points and 6.7 rebounds a game, leading the team in total points scored with 98. For this epic run and the Olympics that followed, Barkley was laced in the Nike Air Force 180 in a special Dream Team colorway. With a visible 180 Air bubble for cushioning, a midfoot lockdown strap, and supportive plastic overlays, this model was perfectly suited for Barkley’s rugged big man playing style. The Nike Air Force 180 “Olympic” was re-released last summer in celebration of the Olympic games.

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